July 2, 2014

Caring ADD

Having a chronic illness and pain sucks. That sort of goes without saying. But as I got one more request for a meal train for someone who had a baby, I got to thinking. Mostly about the friend who can't make ends meet because a chronic illness means her husband cannot work, and she is trying to pull it all together herself. Where's the meal train? Where's the fundraiser? Where's the support?

We celebrate events. We rally around single surgeries. We show up with food. We send plants. We call one another to talk about it. We seem to know what to do with those single things. But draw something unpleasant out, and everyone loses interest. Or even are paralyzed by what to do, so they end up doing nothing. Then there's the problem to even know whether, when, or how they should bring the unfortunate issue up, because God forbid someone discuss what's really going on if it might bring someone down. Just look at when someone dies. Everyone shows up with crappy casseroles and taco dips, and then *poof* they're all just gone, back to their "normal" lives. It's like we have Caring ADD. It's fine to concern ourselves with something once, because then we feel good about our "contribution". But more than that, well... that's quite a lot of work, and there's other stuff to deal with in my own life.

Compounding the complicated issue, I can tell you from experience, that those dealing with ongoing crap don't want to come across as anything less than strong. Mentioning my pain makes me feel like I cannot tolerate it. And because it's not a single event, it's not something to ask for help about. Because really, what would be different on this Monday versus next Monday? And what would you ask for help with? I see similar situations with those dealing with eldercare. One day runs into the next with absolutely no reprieve, and there is no crappy casserole showing up at the door. (Can you tell how I feel about casseroles?)

So this is what I've decided. This month, I'm going to make it a focus to help someone who doesn't ask for it. Because I think they're the ones who need it the most. And hopefully, by next month it'll just be a routine thing to remember to do.


Mary Z said...

Points well made. Folks have been so good to me in this one-time situation. I'll try to do like you do, and pass it forward.

Anonymous said...

Amen! chronic illness is difficult and often unrelenting. I have Crohn's disease and those who have it know we don't talk about it because it is embarrassing and who wants to hear about that. You make many great points. Definitely no crappy casseroles here.